Its lack of beaches has kept it off tourists’ radar and has dictated a wholly different lifestyle from Sanibel and Captiva.
Here the attractions are the artist galleries of Matlacha, which hold Art Night festivities the second Friday of each month in season; Calusa Indian mounds and archaeological site; tropical fruit farms; and fresh seafood from its working waterfront.
The island contains five communities – Matlacha, Pine Center, St. James City, Pineland, and Bokeelia — separated by long stretches of tree, fruit, and other farms.
Plan to spend the day driving the island’s 17-some miles, seeing the sights, and stopping for lunch or dinner in a place with lots of personality. I suggest Tarpon Lodge (Pineland) and Blue Dog Bar & Grill (Matlacha). Do not miss the Randell Research Center’s Calusa Heritage Trail while in Pineland.
45- to 60-minute drive from Sanibel Causeway